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Need to Know: Who's up, who's down as Redskins end offseason program

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Need to Know: Who's up, who's down as Redskins end offseason program

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 18, 42 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

State of the Redskins

Here are some thoughts on the Redskins at the end of their offseason program. Note that the players have been in helmets and shorts and that only five of 11 practices have been open to the media.

—We still don’t know enough about the progress of Robert Griffin III to say if he will have a successful season. He has had good days in OTAs and minicamp like Tuesday and he has had some less than stellar days like Wednesday. He’s a work in progress and it’s impossible to say at this point how it will turn out. Stay tuned for Richmond and for the preseason.

—Griffin does seem to be more decisive than he did in the offseason practices and training camp last year. He rarely pumps the ball and looks confused. The question is whether he has advanced to being decisive enough to be effective in a real NFL game.

—While Griffin has had some issues, neither backup quarterback has made a compelling case that he could be the answer, either. Colt McCoy has been quite erratic, throwing a ton of interceptions. Kirk Cousins has been better but he hasn’t done anything to make me think that he could be the guy, either. It should be noted that both of the backup quarterbacks are working with other backup players so it may be a bit more difficult to shine.

—I get the feeling that Matt Jones will get a lot of touches when the season starts. He has been stepping in with the first team offense early and often. The coaches like the way he runs and the way he catches the ball. They will find ways to get him into games and get the ball in is hands.

—Trent Murphy could be the most improved returning player on defense. He has gotten stronger and he knows the game better. It’s hard to judge a player in his position without pads but he has been playing well.

—Again, it’s hard to tell in helmets and shorts but it looks like Brandon Scherff has work to do before he becomes a good right tackle and even further to go before he plays well enough to live up to his billing as the No. 5 overall pick. The good news is he’ll do the work. He is out there every day, working late with Bill Callahan. There usually have been other linemen with him but they vary from day to day. The constant is Scherff. He may not get there quickly, maybe not before the season starts, but he should get there.

Timeline

—It’s been 172 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 87 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 42; Preseason opener @ Browns 56; final cuts 80

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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